Travelling on the motorway (autovia d’ Malaga) from the Costa del Sol to Cordoba in search of some light Spanish culture; one inveterately will a require a comfort break. The anticipation of finding an enclave of peace and tranquility in an otherwise 120kph high octane fuelled duel along the twisty, winding motorways of Andalusia; is more than a mere temptation. There are a smattering of Repsol service stations, however, I like to hunt. My prey is the real Spain!

Entering Cuevas Bajas, was reminiscent of driving into an unfamiliar town in a Stephen King novel. Descending into a valley, one crosses into dense fog which gives the entire area an eerie quality. Furthermore as voyeurs to the work of Mr King, we beg & beseech his characters to ‘turn around & get the hell out’, but inquistively they travel on until their gruesome untimely end; I was no different.

Through quiet empty streets I voyaged, not seeing another living soul. I began to wonder should I make a u-turn and get back to the comfort of the autovia with total disregard for the local speed limits!

Eventually I came upon the main square. I was quite relieved for I had passed several shops, offices, and cafes which were all most definitely cerrado.

I parked the car outside what I assumed was the main church and spied across the ‘plaza’ two demons in disguise; I had found two smokers.

the church of San Juan Bautista

Nicotine addicts could only mean one thing at this hour; caffeine fixes. I moistened my lips and ventured towards the source of the acrid air. Battling with and ultimately conquering the need for tobacco some seven years ago, gives one a heighten sense of its presence and equal disdain. But this day I was feeling a little less disgust for I needed to partake of caffi con leche, con sacarina, por favor.

I entered Tony’s bar & discovered the majority of the town’s people. 10 am on a cold December morning, even by my standards, one needs several boosts of caffeine to get the ‘motor running’.

Tony was charming & retorted to my bad Spanish with excellent English. We exchanged pleasantries & I blended in & watched with eagerness, life – life in the real Spain.

Before returning to the journey I stopped make some photographs. I noted more towns-folk were emerging & concluded that 10am start on the Costa must be more 11(ish) in the interior.

Travelling through the veil of fog back towards the warm winter sun and higher ground, I must confess to a sense of relief often associated with Mr King’s survivors.

Cuevas Bajas is a town in the province of Málaga, part of Andalusia & is situated 75 kilometers from Málaga. The natives are called Cueveños.

Cuevas Bajas is located in a valley where Málaga overlooks the Genil river & retains the appearance of an Andalusian village, with short, narrow streets and its houses with barred windows and balconies.

Its most interesting monuments are the church of San Juan Bautista, built in the eighteenth century.

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